Health Highlights: July 4, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Government Food Education Program Not Changing Children's Eating Habits, Survey Finds

The U.S. government's nutrition education program of more than $1 billion is failing, a survey by the Associated Press reveals.

The money spent on videos of dancing fruits and vegetables, Web site emphasis on snacking on carrots and celery, and repeated instruction on how eating well makes a person feel good are all coming to naught, the wire service says.

The A.P. reviewed 57 scientific studies that looked at the effectiveness of the federal program and found only four showed any measurable success in changing the way children ate.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Government Food Education Program Not Changing Children's Eating Habits, Survey Finds
    • Study Shows Reduced Pregnancy Rate for Women Using Alternative Medical Therapies
    • Asthma Drug Label Gets Anaphylaxis Warning
    • Drug May Help Bad Memories Fade
    • Endometriosis Raises Cancer Risk: Study
    • Many With Food Allergies Ignore Warnings: Study

Here are the major obstacles that come into play, the wire service reports:

Parents If parents don't practice proper nutrition, most times their children won't, either.

Poverty Less healthful food -- especially fast food -- is cheaper and more often eaten by poor children, the researchers found.

Advertising Not one of the almost 9,000 television ads for food products aimed at children between ages 8 and 12 in the study promoted fruits or vegetables.

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Study Shows Reduced Pregnancy Rate for Women Using Alternative Medical Therapies

Alternative medical treatments and herbal supplements may reduce a woman's chance of getting pregnant, according to a study presented July 4 at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in France.

According to the Associated Press, the study was conducted on 800 Danish women who were receiving in vitro fertilization. Alternative medical treatments and/or herbal supplements such as reflexology, homeopathy, kinesiology and acupuncture were used by 261 of the participants, the wire service reported.

The results showed that the women who used one or more of these therapies were 20 percent less likely to become pregnant. While more research is needed to determine a cause and effect relationship, one of the researchers, Dr. Jacky Boivin of Cardiff University, told the A.P. that the lowered fertility incidence didn't seem to be accidental.

"There still seems to be an association between the use of complementary therapies and the reduced chances for pregnancy," Boivin said. "Doctors tend to think that these kinds of therapies are benign, but maybe they're not as benign as we think they are."

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Asthma Drug Label Gets Anaphylaxis Warning

Labeling on the Genentech asthma medication Xolair (omalizumab) has been updated to include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's strongest possible "black box" warning, advising doctors and consumers of the risk of anaphylaxis, the agency said Tuesday.

Anaphylaxis is a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, with possible symptoms including trouble breathing, chest tightness, dizziness, fainting, itching, hives, and swelling of the mouth and throat.

Xolair, an injected medication, was approved in 2003 for people 12 years and older with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma that is inadequately controlled with inhaled corticosteroids.

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